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RSA and Gaelic games stars urge motorists to ‘stay focused’ at National Ploughing Championships



The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will host a panel discussion at the National Ploughing Championships (NPC), featuring inter-county Gaelic games stars, as part of its #StayFocused campaign in partnership with the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and Women’s Gaelic Players Association (WGPA). The #StayFocused campaign is aimed at addressing the incidences of two killer behaviours on Irish roads – using a mobile phone while driving and driver fatigue – the panel discussion will explore the importance of staying focused and will take place on Tuesday 17th  September from 11.30am-12.30pm at the RSA’s stand at the NPC.

The event will feature Paul Flynn (GPA CEO & former Dublin footballer), Stephen Coen (Mayo senior footballer), Matthew O’Hanlon (Wexford senior hurler) and Edwina Keane (Kilkenny senior camogie player) and will be chaired by sports broadcaster Damian Lawlor.

Representatives of the GPA and the WGPA will also be on hand throughout the three-day agricultural event at the RSA’s stand to provide further information on the #StayFocused campaign and their work representing inter-county players.

The RSA is one of 150 Government of Ireland exhibitors located in the new Government of Ireland Village, consisting of 19 marquees across 13,000sq metres at the national event. Within the Village, the RSA will be offering a series of engaging and interactive activities and demonstrations to educate and inform attendees on key road safety messages.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ms Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the RSA, said: ‘The Ploughing Championships are always a highlight in the RSA calendar, and we have a host of activities for visitors to the RSA marquee. We are particularly pleased this year to be welcoming the GPA and the WGPA as part of our road safety partnership to reduce the incidences of killer behaviours on Irish roads. Our panel of Gaelic games stars will be discussing how it is just as important to stay focused on the road while driving as it is to stay focused on the game.’

As part of the Brexit-readiness support on offer at the NPC’s Government of Ireland Village, the RSA will be offering advice to anyone living in Ireland who holds a UK driver licence on the steps they need to take to be prepared in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The RSA will also be showcasing its many road safety innovations at the NPC, including a virtual reality (VR) experience which provides users with an insight into what it’s like to be involved in a drink driving related road traffic collision and live with the consequences. This state-of-the-art technology lets you experience the resulting devastation caused by such a crash but without the repercussions for victims and their families. Through VR, participants will also have the opportunity to experience a crash in the virtual world as a result of falling asleep at the wheel.

Visitors to the NPC can also experience the RSA’s Interactive Road Safety Shuttle and learn about road safety in a hands-on manner. On the Interactive Shuttle, participants can:

  • Practice driving and hazard perception skills on car and motorbike simulators
  • Practice safe cycling skills on a state-of-the-art bicycle simulator
  • Engage with interactive games and learn about road safety in a fun, engaging way

The RSA will again be distributing a selection of high-visibility items at this year’s NPC. This safety initiative is part of the RSA’s continued commitment to educating road users on how to stay safe on Irish roads, with the high-visibility vests being distributed in association with the Irish Farmers Journal and FBD Insurance.

Meanwhile, for the first time, the RSA’s NPC exhibit will feature a HGV blind spot simulator, enabling participants to experience what a truck and bus driver can and cannot see, and to encourage truck and bus drivers think more about vulnerable road users.

Ms Murdock, commented: ‘As part of our commitment to educating the public on road safety, we have lots of opportunities for visitors at National Ploughing Championships to experience the danger on the roads, in a very safe setting. We are encouraging people to attend one of our many demonstrations, to visit the Road Safety Interactive Shuttle and experience the Roll-Over Simulator.’

Visitors to the RSA stand will be able to engage in all aspects of road safety, regardless of whether they drive for work or pleasure, cycle, or walk. Activities at the RSA stand will include:

  • For those starting off on the journey of learning to drive, everything you need to know regarding the Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), Initial Basic Training (IBT), Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) and Essential Driver Training (EDT).
  • Drivers can find out about applying for a driver licence/learner permit, adding a category to a driving licence/learner permit, applying for a driving test, trailer licences, how to prepare for and pass a driving test as well as unaccompanied driving rules for learner permit holders.
  • Learn about towing light and heavy trailers, vehicle weights and dimensions as well as the use of agricultural vehicles.
  • Commercial drivers can enquire about owning and operating a commercial fleet, drivers’ hours, digital tachographs as well as vehicle testing and licensing.
  • Tyre safety demonstrations will help participants choose the appropriate tyres for their vehicle and consider tread depth.
  • Emergency service drivers can get information on the driving standard for emergency service drivers, creating correct behaviour and responsible attitude with emergency service drivers.
  • Teachers and principals can avail of numerous road safety resources, learn about school competitions, and book a school visit from a member of the RSA team.
  • GoSafe demonstration to see what the interior of a safety camera van looks like and have any safety camera questions answered.
  • For anyone concerned about fitness to drive, there will be information on the responsibilities as a driver to understand how health conditions can affect driving.
  • For parents or parents to be, helpful advice about child car seat law, the different types of car seats and choosing the correct one, when to change seats as well as what Isofix and i-Size are.
  • Tractor drivers can talk to the experts about tractor safety and consider submitting their tractor for voluntary CVR testing.

The RSA will be located at block 4, row 20, stand number 431 at the NPC. The event takes in Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co. Carlow from September 17-19, 2019.

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